Citrus Sugar Cookies

Produced and Styled by Mindi Shapiro Levine

Photographed by Mary Britton Senseney

Recipe Development and Food Styling by Lilly Plauche

“A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.”


From a humble snack to a gourmet indulgence, cookies are wonderfully versatile treats that never disappoint. This time of year, everyone loves baking them, giving them and eating them.

Depending on how you mix, form and bake a few simple ingredients, you can create cookies that are perfectly elegant desserts, gifts or snacks. They can be wholesome, indulgent, familiar and surprising.

Cookies have limitless possibilities and can be as decadent as desired. The distinctive flavors of rosemary, vanilla bean paste, pomegranate, lemon, orange and lime add character to these recipes. So fill your kitchen with the sugar-and-spice aromas that the holiday brings.

Citrus Sugar Cookies

Citrus Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 25 minutes. Start to finish: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 30 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour       ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt                     ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind         1 teaspoon grated orange rind

½ teaspoon grated lime rind           ½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup powdered sugar        1 egg

2 tablespoons lemon juice   ¼ cup milk

6-8 cups powdered sugar    Silver and white sugar balls

1 Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Beat butter and citrus rinds with a mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add granulated sugar and ¼  cup powdered sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in egg. Add flour mixture, beating just to combine. Divide dough in half; flatten dough halves into disks, wrap in plastic and chill at least 2 hours.

2 Preheat oven to 350°. Working with one disk at a time, roll out dough onto a floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. Cut into squares using a 2 ½ inch square cutter. Place cookies ½ inch apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

3 Combine lemon juice and milk in a large mixing bowl. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until icing is stiff enough to pipe. Pipe icing onto cookies. Decorate with silver and white sugar balls. Makes 30 cookies.

Vanilla Bean Meringues

Vanilla Bean Meringues

Prep time: 15 minutes. Start to finish: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 25 cookies

4 large egg whites at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Vanilla bean filling:

½ cup unsalted butter

½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste

4 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

White edible glitter

1 Preheat oven to 2000. Beat the egg whites, granulated sugar and cream of tartar at high speed 4 minutes or until stiff meringue forms. Fold in powdered sugar and vanilla bean paste. Pipe meringues into 1-inch rounds onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 1 hour or until dried and can be easily removed from parchment. Turn oven off and let meringues continue to dry in oven for 1 hour.

2 Beat butter and vanilla bean paste with a mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and milk until desired consistency is reached. Spoon about 1 teaspoon filling onto flat side of half of meringues. Top with remaining meringue halves, forming a sandwich. Roll edges of frosting in white edible glitter. Makes 25 cookies.

Rosemary Pomegranate Cookies

Rosemary Pomegranate Cookies

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Start to finish: 3 hours

Yield: 18 cookies

2/3 cup whole natural almonds

½ cup packed brown sugar, divided

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup raspberry pomegranate jam

3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

Powdered sugar, for dusting

1 Preheat oven to 350°. Toast almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet 7 minutes or until fragrant. Cool.

2 Pulse almonds and ¼ cup brown sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Combine flour, baking powder, rosemary and salt in a small bowl.

3 Beat butter and remaining ¼ cup brown sugar in a large mixing bowl at medium speed 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add ground nut mixture, beating until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture, beating just until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten each dough half into a round disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 2 hours.

4 Working with one dough round at a time, roll dough on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out shapes using a 3 ½ inch by 2 ½ inch cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Chill cookies on sheets 10 minutes. Using a small 1-inch cutter, cut out the centers of half of the cookies. Bake cookies 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool on wire racks.

5 Combine jam and pomegranate seeds. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of jam onto flat side of each solid cookie and top with a cut-out cookie. Dust with powdered sugar. Makes 18 cookies.

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One Response to “Baked”

  1. Liesa Cole says:

    Bravo! Gorgeous stuff!

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